Deputy Chairman of Blagoveschensk City Court, Russia, Evgeniy Makhno, asked for a resignation after a video, where the judge appeared asleep during a trial and then made a ruling, went viral. Most likely, his request will be satisfied so the representative of Themis can have some rest and sleep (click here to see the video). Meanwhile, attorneys believe that the judge's actions are criminally punishable.
The scandalous video uploaded on the Internet may cost the judge his title. Judge Makhno became another Internet sensation and was nicknamed Sleeping Judge (or Napping Judge). On the video, the judge was really asleep (or pretended to be asleep) during the trial. The defendant in the case was Andrei Naletov, an entrepreneur accused of business fraud.
"To attract funds from investors and build the facility," said a participant of the trial in the video. The judge did not react.
"... Building Code and significantly tighten up ..." continued the voice. The judge moved his lips in his sleep, huddled up in a warm chair and continued to snooze.
The recording was made in August of 2012, but the scandal began when the video went viral.
Judge Makhno asked for resignation, and the chairman of the Amur Regional Court Sergey Semenov fully supported the initiative of his colleague. In addition, the question of Makhno's removal from office will be brought before the Judicial Qualification Board that will start reviewing with the case in early February. The "culprit" of the scandal and the author of the video is Vladislav Nikitenko, a representative of defendant Naletov who was rendered a verdict by the Sleeping Judge. In addition, according to representatives of Naletov's defense, the sentence could have been much softer since the defendant has dependents - a minor child and wife suffering from cancer.
Based on the judge's ruling, the entrepreneur who was accused of fraud went to serve his five-year sentence. The Chairman of the Amur Regional Court also informed of another defendant who was given even a more severe sentence by the Sleeping Judge. Representatives of the defendant believe that the judge deserves a criminal trial.
According to attorneys, Makhno can be charged under the Criminal Code article "Knowingly giving unlawful judgment, decision or other judicial act." The Chairman of the City Court was the only one who stood by Makhno. He said that his colleague fell asleep because of the "enormous workload" imposed on judges in their daily work.
Vladislav Nikitenko said that the illegal decision must be rectified by the release of the convicted, and if does not happen, Nikitenko intended to punish the judge through the Constitutional Court.
In his blog, Nikitenko cited the biography of the Sleeping Judge, stating that Makhno was a distant relative of the Chairman of the Amur Region Court Sergei Semenov. The career of the young lawyer was to a quick start. After graduation, Makhno worked as an assistant of the chairman of the Amur Region Court for a few years, then moved to Tynda and became a federal judge, and then took the position of a deputy in Tynda Court, from where he moved to the position of Deputy Chairman of Blagoveschensk City Court.